NORTHWICH Victoria have launched an appeal to raise a four-figure sum they say will prevent the club from a double-relegation.

Supporters are hoping to collect the money they need by Wednesday afternoon, a deadline imposed by the Football Association to clear all their remaining debts.

If they manage it, then the team can take a place provisionally assigned to them for next season in the North West Counties League’s top-flight.

“We owe £15,000 to creditors,” said Dave Thomas, Vics’ general manager.

“That would cover everything, including the tax man and other bills we have.”

A meeting of supporters, who have been in talks to buy the club from Martin Rushe since he put it into administration before Christmas, resulted in pledges for two-thirds of that sum on Monday night.

That leaves a shortfall of £5,000.

Vics were relegated from the Northern Premier League’s Division One South at the end of last season.

A 10-point deduction, applied as a punishment for declaring themselves insolvent in December, sent them to the bottom of the table.

They stayed there for the campaign’s remainder, with their demotion confirmed following a 5-0 defeat against landlords Witton Albion on Easter Monday.

FA rules insist the club must exit administration - either by paying their debts in full or by agreeing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors to pay the same amount in instalments over an agreed period - before clubs gather for their annual meeting.

The North West Counties League is scheduled to host their on Saturday, hence Vics’ bid to raise the cash they need before then.

If they are unsuccessful then they risk being placed in that competition’s second tier or, worse, refused membership altogether.

Thomas said: “We’ve been heartened by the response we’ve had already, and we’ve had former players and supporters living out of town getting in touch.

“Time is short, we know that, but this is the best chance we’ve got of avoiding dropping even further down.”

Rushe remains the club’s owner, if only in name.

A small group of fans have run the club since the start of last season, and Thomas estimates they have together spent £66,000 to complete the campaign.

That included rent payment to Albion, although that arrangement will not continue next term.

The Guardian understands that a potential five-figure windfall from the transfer of Jordan Williams from Barrow to Rochdale is not included in the amount raised so far.

The wide man spent six months with Northwich, helping them to the FA Cup second round, the season before last.

It earned him a move the Cumbrian outfit, who play in non-league’s top tier.

A sell-on clause was included as part of a deal that took him there.